Public Urged To Be Proactive With Cybersecurity

The 16th Annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) has kicked off.
This year’s theme – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. – emphasizes personal accountability and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace including:
• Own IT – Don’t overshare on social media. Cybercriminals can use this information for a cyberattack. Check that only websites you trust have access to your information. Review your apps to delete ones you don’t use, turn on automatic updates, and turn off access to permissions that don’t make sense.
• Secure IT – Turn your passwords into passphrases. Enable multifactor (two-step) authentication to add another layer of security.
• Protect IT – Make sure all devices and programs have automatic security updates turned on. Don’t use public Wi-Fi if you don’t have to. If you run a business, limit access to customer data only to employees who require it for core duties. Train your workers regularly in cybersecurity.
In addition, the IRS offers six tips to help tax professionals and taxpayers protect themselves and their customers:
• Use anti-virus software. Conduct automatic or manual scans periodically and keep software updated.
• Ensure firewalls are installed either through hardware or software. Remember, those protections are useless if a user falls for a phishing scam and divulges sensitive data.
• Use two-factor authentication. Requiring an extra step beyond a password provides an extra layer of protection.
• Backup software and files. Critical computer files should be regularly backed up to an encrypted hard drive or stored online through a secure cloud storage service.
• Use encryption. Tax professionals should consider drive or disk encryption software to transform data into unreadable files for an unauthorized user.
•, Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using a VPN ensures tax professionals working at a remote location have a secure, encrypted “tunnel” to transmit data.
Launched in 2004 by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the US Department of Homeland Security, NCSAM is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.
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